Warning! This article contains spoilers for What If…? season 2, episode 1, “What If… Nebula Joined The Nova Corps?”


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Summary

  • “What If…? season 2, episode 1 reveals a hidden scene from Avengers: Infinity War that should have been shown five years ago.”
  • “The episode focuses on Nebula joining the Nova Corps after Ronan betrays and kills Thanos.”
  • “Although the MCU didn’t show Thanos attacking Xandar, What If…? gives a glimpse of the powerful city under full attack.”

What If…? season 2 episode 1, “What If… Nebula Joined The Nova Corps,” finally shows off a scene that the MCU has kept strangely hidden for 5 years. What If…? is exciting in part because of the wild alternate takes on Marvel Cinematic Universe history it presents, but the premiere episode of the second season gives a look at a scene that seems like it should have been shown five years ago in Avengers: Infinity War. With hope of seeing the original missing scene likely gone, What If…?‘s alternate take may be the best audiences get.

What If…? season 2, episode 1 focuses on Nebula employed by the Nova Corps after Ronan betrays and kills Thanos. After defeating the Mad Titan, Ronan is empowered to continue on with his original goal of destroying the planet. The Accuser isn’t shown for long in the episode, but his brief scenes towards the start show him getting closer to his goal than he ever did in live-action.

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What If Finally Shows Xandar Under Siege

Avengers: Infinity War tells the story of Thanos finally acquiring the powerful Infinity Stones, but it leaves some of the stories off-screen. Most notably, Thanos already has the Power Stone when the film opens on Thor’s Asgardian ship. To acquire it, Thanos would have had to siege Xandar and take it from the protection of the Nova Corps. Thanos attacking Xandar was reportedly filmed over a 45-minute scene and cut, and the MCU still hasn’t shown what was presumably an epic encounter. It seemed that the scene might be shown via flashback in Endgame, but Xandar has not popped up again in the MCU.

What If…? season 2 doesn’t show Thanos attacking Xandar, but it does show Ronan with the Power Stone successfully laying waste to a Xandarian city. The villain also attacked Xandar in Guardians of the Galaxy, but his forces never succeeded in making landfall until the final moments before Ronan’s defeat. The scene is brief, but given that Thanos’ time on Xandar isn’t shown at all, seeing the powerful city under full attack is a welcome tease of an important Marvel movie moment. However, this time, Xandar is ultimately able to fend off its attacker after suffering significant damage.

Why The MCU Didn’t Show Thanos Attack Xandar

Power Infinity Stone and Orb from Guardians of the Galaxy

Given that almost every battle scene with the powerful Thanos in the MCU is great, it seems disappointing that his siege of Xandar came so close to release but ultimately hasn’t seen the light of day. However, given that the cut footage is reportedly 45 minutes long, it’s not entirely surprising that it didn’t work in Avengers: Infinity War. The third Avengers movie already had a lot of narrative to get through as Thanos acquired all but two infinity stones on screen. The movie also had to bring together disparate heroes from different corners of the MCU, so a long opening sequence would have hurt Infinity War‘s overall pacing.

Also, given that there were no Avengers, Guardians, or other known MCU heroes on Xandar when Thanos attacked, it simply isn’t as relevant as when Thanos acquired items like the Soul Stone or Mind Stone. Given Infinity War also ends with the climactic siege of Wakanda, opening the movie with a similar sequence may have risked coming off as repetitive. Interestingly enough, this far out from the Infinity Saga, a future episode of What If…? may now be the best chance of ever seeing what Thanos had to do to overcome Xandar’s forces.

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